Malcolm Gladwell to visit WFU

The bestselling author will kick off the Fall 2021 iteration of Wake Forest’s Face-to-Face series

Malcolm Gladwell to visit WFU

Christa Dutton, Staff Writer

The Face to Face Speaker Series is finally back to being just that — face to face. After a year of virtual events, bestselling author and journalist Malcolm Gladwell will kick off the in-person 2021-2022 series on Sept. 14.

Gladwell is the author of five New York Times bestsellers: “The Tipping Point”, “Blink”, “Outliers”, “What the Dog Saw” and “David and Goliath”. He has been a staff writer for The New Yorker for over 20 years and is also the co-founder of Pushkin Industries, a podcast and audiobook production company that produces several podcasts, including “Revisionist History”, Gladwell’s own podcast about things “overlooked and misunderstood.” Gladwell was also listed on Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list.

Gladwell will be speaking at two events while on campus, both of which will be free to students. First, he will be speaking Sept. 14 at 5:15 p.m. in Wait Chapel for a student-only Q&A style event. Students can submit questions for Gladwell via a Google form which can be found on the Face-to-Face webpage.

Students are also welcome to the keynote address later that evening at 7:30 p.m. in LJVM Coliseum. Gladwell will engage in a conversation with Wake Forest Vice President for University Advancement Mark Petersen.

Each year, the forum features three to four speakers who are selected for their influence and expertise in one of four fields: political affairs, social justice and global issues; arts and culture; or innovation and business. Gladwell was chosen as a leader in innovation and business.

“We chose Gladwell for the category of business and innovation [because] he is a world-renowned thought leader,” Face-to-Face Executive Director Sue Henderson said. “He is one of the most influential [voices] in terms of thought leadership in the country.”

Event coordinators believe this experience will be an incredible and inspiring opportunity for students. It will be a chance for students and community members to hear from someone who has been a leader and changemaker in society.

“He has been an agent of change,” Henderson said. “Even if you haven’t read his books, come be inspired by this noted person who is making an impact in our society.”

The Face-to-Face speaker series has been bringing prominent voices to campus for over a year now. The program launched in March 2020 and was originally designed as a series of in-person events. It had to shift to a series of virtual events just a couple of weeks later when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“We launched March of 2020, and the world changed two weeks later after we launched,” Henderson said. “We spent two years creating an in-person speaker series and then had to create a virtual series. We loved the virtual series and had huge success with viewership, but we are beyond excited to be back in person and to open with Malcolm Gladwell.”

This year’s series will also include former Secretaries of State Madeleine K. Albright and Colin L. Powell in November, Grammy award-winning cellist and UN Ambassador of Peace Yo-Yo Ma in February 2022 and will finish up with neurosurgeon, the CNN chief medical correspondent and “Jeopardy!” guest host Dr. Sanjay Gupta in April 2022.

More information about the Malcolm Gladwell event and the rest of the series can be found on the Face-to-Face Speaker Series webpage.